Feb 16 2015

Sen. Murkowski Defines Goal of Commercial Fishing Discharge Exemption Bill


SEAFOODNEWS.COM | Published by permission

Congress will consider a new effort during the current session to take vessel discharge regulations off the books for commercial, fishing and recreational vessels that are less than 79 feet in length.

That’s S.387, introduced Feb. 4 and sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

Co-sponsors are Senators Barbara Boxer, D-CA, Maria Cantwell, D-WA, and Dan Sullivan, R-AK.

“For those who need a little more graphic detail as to what we’re talking about, when you take a commercial fishing vessel out, your 45-foot commercial fishing vessel, and you have a good day fishing, you’ve got some salmon guts on the deck,” Murkowski said. “You’ve got a little bit of slime. You hose it off. That would be an incidental discharge that would be reportable to the EPA and if you fail to report, you could be subject to civil penalties. That’s what we’re talking about here.”

The senator said current Environmental Protection Agency regulations are so broadly written that they would penalize Alaska’s fishermen and more than 8,000 boats statewide simply for rinsing fish guts off their decks, or rainwater washing other materials off of their decks.

Alaska’s congressional delegation has been trying for several years to get a permanent exempt for these vessels through Congress. Last year Murkowski and former Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, introduced similar legislation.


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